5 Best & Worst Lincoln Nautilus Years (Stats & Examples)

The Lincoln Nautilus is a relatively new SUV. It was built to replace the MKX. It first came out in 2019 (premiering in 2018). While there aren’t many model years on the market, there are some that prove to be better than others.

Learning about the model years can ensure you get the SUV with the most attractive features.

You can end up saving yourself a lot of money with the cost of ownership, too, when you can avoid model years known for higher repairs.

Check also: Demographics on Lincoln car owners.

The Best and Worst Years for Lincoln Nautilus Are:

The best Lincoln Nautilus years include 2021, 2022, and the 2023 models. Alternatively, the model years you should avoid include 2019 and 2020.

 Pay attention to the years when you shop for a used Nautilus SUV.

What Lincoln Nautilus Years Are the Most Reliable?

The Lincoln Nautilus is a luxury SUV with a lot to offer.

It is well known for its class, comfort, and performance. You’ll find plenty of interior features that help you to enjoy your drive of any distance.

Some model years have a lot of features to offer – and without as many mechanical problems.

The vehicle doesn’t have a lot of issues as a whole. One of the reasons for that is that the design is based heavily on the former MKX model. Mistakes made with that SUV helped to create a better Nautilus from the beginning.

Here are a few of the most reliable model years that you can find.

2021 Nautilus

The 2021 model year Nautilus shows that the vehicle hit its stride.

It’s the third year of the vehicle, and it’s still within the first generation.

There were no recalls (to date), which also shows that it was manufactured well. It shows that it’s safer, too, so you can enjoy more reliability.

We have an article also with an overview of recalls across the Lincoln models.

A subtle refresh was made, so it addresses some of the concerns from previous years about the luxury of the interior as well as it not offering enough of an impressive exterior.

Changes you can find include a revised grille and thicker chrome accents. The trim materials inside have been upgraded and there’s a larger touchscreen.

The voice command system got the latest that Lincoln has to offer, making it easier to talk the various commands for convenience.

You get three trim levels – with the MSRP ranging from $42,000 to $66,000.

Obviously, there’s money to be saved by buying used. Some of the used models on the market only have 10,000 miles.

Generally, this year was a good year for Lincoln. The Lincoln Aviator also had a good year in 2021.

The savings will be small but mighty.

The Black Label may be the most expensive but there’s a twin-turbo V6. This addresses the concern of sportiness from previous model years. You’ll definitely feel the athleticism behind the wheel in the 2019 version with the Black Label.

The general feel of this car is that it is stylish, feels luxurious inside, and offers a comfortable ride.

There aren’t any real mechanical problems to speak of. The only complaint is that the fuel economy could be better.

2022 Nautilus

The 2022 Lincoln Nautilus has a lot to offer. It is one of the newest model years, so you’re more likely to buy new than used.

There have been no NHTSA recalls, which provides peace of mind.

There aren’t any mechanical concerns that would add to the cost of ownership, either. As such, the main expenses are that of maintenance – oil changes, tire services, and similar.

The 2022 model year didn’t get any major changes from the refresh of 2021.

With no major changes, you still get two rows of seating. The only complaint about this is that because of the MSRP, many feel as though a third row should be at least an option.

Many like the two rows, however. There’s more space for passengers and cargo. In fact, it has one of the more spacious interiors in its class because of missing the third row.

A lot of connectivity is included at no additional cost. This allows you to enjoy:

  • USB ports,
  • satellite radio,
  • Apple CarPlay,
  • and more.

A Premium Package can also be added to provide navigation along with some other features.

The fuel economy still has not been addressed within the Nautilus, but that is one of the few downsides that you will endure.

What makes the 2022 Nautilus a reliable choice is that it has an impressive twin-turbo V6 and a stylish interior and exterior design.

2023 Nautilus

The 2023 Nautilus is just out, so we can’t tell you a lot about it.

Based on what we know, it’s definitely a model year that is going to offer reliability.

It’s still within the first generation, so it offers similar to the 2021 and 2022 model years. Since we love those, we anticipate loving the 2023 model year as well.

It has been announced that this will be the final year for the Nautilus. We’re not sure why, but this means that it’s going to be the best that it can be.

It continues to offer a spacious design. And with the three trim levels, you can get the features you want – even if it means spending a bit more.

There have been no recalls released on the 2023 model yet, but that could certainly change. We don’t expect anything major considering that there weren’t recalls of significance on the most recent ears.

The most reliability comes from the Black Label simply because there are a lot of mechanical upgrades. You’ll enjoy adaptive suspension as well as standard AWD and a V6 engine.

What Lincoln Nautilus Years Should You Avoid?

The Lincoln Nautilus isn’t perfect. There have been some issues – and the earlier model years are the ones with the most problems.

It’s important to remember that the Nautilus has only had one generation.

Below are the ones we recommend avoiding when you’re looking to buy a used Nautilus.

2019 Nautilus

2019 is the model year that launched the Nautilus into existence.

Since it is the first year of the first generation, it was expected to have some problems.

There was a total of four recalls, which is considered high.

The recalls focused on the electrical system with issues affecting the 16-way electric tilt seats as well as the instrument panel. Another issue affected the lane departure/lane keep system.

Finally, another recall focused on some of the 2019 Nautilus vehicles because of a frontal air bag module that would affect its deployment.

The Nautilus is considered to be a continuation of the MKX, which was launched in 2016.

There are changes that make the Nautilus better – a bold grille and a turbocharged four-cylinder engine.

These newer things make the 2019 a better option than an older MKX.

The MSRP started out at just over $41,000 for the base model – the Standard edition. After that, you’d have to spend between $4,000 and $16,000 to get more features.

By waiting a few years, newer model years have some of the features as standard.

Considering that there are other model years out there, there’s no reason to go with the first model year. The savings won’t be that dramatic in comparison to buying a slightly newer model – and without all of the issues.

Most of the used 2019 model years are likely to have between 30,000 and 40,000 miles on them. It’s anticipated that a Lincoln Nautilus will be able to reach 200,000 miles if proper maintenance is performed.

To ensure you know all of the problems actually encountered, be sure to get a VIN report. This way, you can see what repairs were performed – and if all of the recalls were taken care of.

Even with the issues found in the first model year, the Nautilus went on to win an Ideal Vehicle Award from AutoPacific as a result of the technology and interior quietness.

2020 Nautilus

The 2020 Nautilus is the second year of the Lincoln model lineup. It still falls within the first generation.

It’s considered a carryover from the 2019, so nothing significant changed.

Since we included the 2019 in the list of model years to avoid, the 2020 was to follow since they didn’t address any real concerns.

The only thing that did happen differently in the 2020 is that they dropped the Select trim level. This means there are only three trim levels to choose from.

The towing capacity is limited – and performance will drop significantly when you do tow anything.

Lincoln claims that, regardless of engine, you can tow 2500 pounds. Reviews complain about the effort that it will take, particularly on on-ramps. And fuel economy will take a hit, too.

All of the safety features are included – and that means everything from automatic high beams to lane-keeping assist to automatic emergency braking. However, some of the features work intermittently – which is why there haven’t been a lot of safety awards given to the 2020 Nautilus.

Some of the issues have been covered in recalls.

Three recalls have been issued on the 2020 Nautilus.

The first involves certain 2020 Nautilus vehicles with the powertrain and drive shaft. Insufficient lubricant was used in the rear drive unit, causing the rear drive axle to seize.

Another was a poor electrical connection causing a blank or distorted image from the rearview camera/mirror.

Finally, the other recall focused on wiring that would impact the way in which the seats could tilt, causing damage to the deployment of airbags in the event of a crash.

Most complaints about the 2020 are that based on the MSRP, it just feels like a fancy Ford – and doesn’t offer any kind of sporty feel.

If you’re looking for a deal, you can find used 2020 Nautilus models with about 20,000 miles on them. There’s nothing seriously wrong, per se, with this model year. However, you can do better by waiting a year for the 2021.

What Are Some Typical Problems with the Lincoln Nautilus Models?

There haven’t been a lot of problems with the Lincoln Nautilus since it was first launched in 2019.

The same can be said for the little brother: the Lincoln Corsair that also has had some good years!

Most reviews don’t offer a lot of “cons.” Those that do focus on the handling or not having enough interior luxury.

Mechanically speaking, the issues are primarily focused on the transmission.

There have also been such issues, often addressed with recalls, as:

  • Issues with the rearview cameras
  • Issues with the electric tilt seats
  • Instrument cluster functionality
  • Insufficient detection of steering assist

To learn more about the typical problems that you may encounter with any model year of the Lincoln Nautilus, check out our more in-depth article.


Back To overview of best/worst years for Lincoln.

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ⓘ  The information in this article is based on data from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recall reports, consumer complaints submitted to the NHTSA, reliability ratings from J.D. Power, auto review and rating sites such as Edmunds, specialist forums, etc. We analyzed this data to provide insights into the best and worst years for these vehicle models.